The eBook

I purchase it for twenty dollars
and yet I do not own it.
I’m tethered like a vicious dog
to the place that I bought it.

When a person purchases a book
he can read it freely;
he need not be sitting in
the bookshop’s reading lounge.

But those days are slipping by
as bookstores fade away
the days of words on paper will fall
to a lone digital file.

Before you make a purchase
be sure to read the fine print;
the very text most people,
just hit accept and move on.

This file tied to the internet
controlled by the seller.
Press a button, my purchase gone,
the money I spent forfeit.

By far, the worst of all
of this abominable practice
if I try to sever this chain,
it’s the law that I am breaking.

They want to keep it with me
to ensure I never share it.
But I have no intention to,
all I want to do is keep it.

And to those who do share it,
they break the chain with ease.
These real vicious dogs,
being tethered with old twine.


Author’s Notes (may contain spoilers):

This poem was one I originally wrote for my Creative Writing class, about cursing something I despise: in this case DRM. Now, I can rant about the evils of DRM long enough to fill a month’s worth of posts, but I’m a writer, not a political advocate, so I will keep it brief, and hopefully, won’t bore you. In general, DRM is a technology that adds restrictions to various forms of media in order to prevent it from being illegally copied. However, DRM actually is highly ineffective at preventing piracy (when the media gets pirated, the DRM is cracked or removed), and simply gets in the way of legitimate customers. Some say that using DRM is treating customers as criminals. This can be a very controversial issue that can get some people quite heated.

DRM is present in a lot of eBooks, like Amazon’s Kindle, which there have been reported instances of Amazon remotely removing legitimately purchased eBooks from peoples’ Kindles. I usually like Amazon, but cannot support the Kindle for this reason. This poem was a way of expressing these beliefs.

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